A multi-billion dollar bypass off the Pacific Highway – a well-known thoroughfare of trucks and tourists – will reduce traffic for the Coffs Harbour community and boost tourism to this jewel of the NSW North Coast.

Transport for NSW North Regional Director, Anna Zycki, said the $2.2 billion bypass was a jointly funded project from the Australian Government and NSW Government that would improve the daily lives of thousands of residents and visitors.

“When complete, the bypass will transform travel in this region by diverting 12,000 vehicles away from the CBD each day and saving motorists around 12 minutes off their trip,” Ms Zycki said. “This is one of the biggest ever projects in the Coffs Harbour region.”

The contract to build the Coffs Harbour bypass has been awarded to a partnership between Ferrovial Construction and Gamuda Berhad, known for the purposes of this project as Ferrovial Gamuda Joint Venture (FGJV). FGJV Project Director, Daniel Perez, said it was thrilling to be part of what will be the final piece of the puzzle for the journey between Sydney and Brisbane.

“The Pacific Highway is a major contributor to Australia’s economy and the Coffs Harbour bypass will be a key link in this vital piece of the nation’s infrastructure,” Mr Perez said. “Our team is already working with the local community and local supply chain to maximise job, training and investment opportunities for the Coffs Coast region.

“Partnering with local stakeholders and the community to respect the traditions and customs of the Gumbaynggir people and helping to protect the region’s unique natural environment will be vital parts of a successful project.” Major work will start later this year and the bypass is expected to be open to traffic from late 2026.

The road to progress

In coming months, the Coffs Harbour community and motorists will start to see the bypass taking shape as major work starts. The upgrade will deliver four lanes of divided motorway bypassing the Coffs Harbour CBD, taking thousands of vehicles out of the centre of town and saving motorists time by avoiding up to 12 sets of traffic lights.

Deputy Project Director, Rochelle Hicks, said early work started on the Coffs Harbour bypass last year. “Ferrovial Gamuda Joint Venture has been busy establishing its site team and progressing the detailed design with Arcadis,” Ms Hicks said.

“Arcadis was engaged by Ferrovial Gamuda as the lead designer of the detailed design phase of the bypass. “Transport for NSW has been responsible for delivering the utility relocation, at-resident noise treatment, demolition and construction of the new rural fire shed.”

The key features of the bypass include three tunnels at Roberts Hill, Shephards Lane and Gatelys Road; three interchanges at Englands Road, Coramba Road and Korora Hill; a bus interchange at Kororo Public School; and formalising the bus stop facility at Coramba Road.

It will also include bridges over and under the bypass to maintain connections with existing local roads and properties; fauna connectivity structures to enable animals to travel over and under the bypass; and noise mounds and noise walls including 14km of low-noise pavement.

“One of the first steps for major construction is the approval of the Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP),” Ms Hicks said. “Shortly after CEMP approval the Coffs Harbour Bypass Team will establish the site with environmental, safety and traffic controls.

Major construction will start in March with visible bulk earthworks around the middle of the year followed by the start of tunnel construction.”

Challenges and innovations

Ms Hicks said there were only a few locations on the east coast where the Great Dividing Range meets the Pacific Ocean, and Coffs Harbour is one of these. “With the landform and the subtropical climate, one of our biggest challenges will be earthworks and managing wet weather impacts during construction,” Ms Hicks said.

“We are also tying into a very busy existing Pacific Highway at the northern and southern ends of the project, and traffic staging will be a challenge to ensure local and travelling road users have minimal delays. “The project team has been challenged to be highly innovative with the procurement, design and delivery of the bypass project.

“We have adopted risk sharing mechanisms in the contract and Transport for NSW has kept ownership or shared risks on a number of items including wet weather, geotechnical information and contamination. “During the major contract procurement, we challenged industry to be innovative on the technical standards and design, and to progress beyond a business-as-usual approach.

“We have fostered a culture of forward thinking to build a high-quality motorway that provides the best value for money. “Transport for NSW and the Ferrovial Gamuda Joint Venture are aligned with targeting innovation and working together to deliver the project.”

Building a legacy together

Ms Hicks said the Ferrovial Gamuda Joint Venture and Transport for NSW would deliver the Coffs Harbour Bypass as one Coffs Bypass Team. “Working together in this collaborative way as one team will provide a focus on efficient problem solving,” Ms Hicks said.

“There is just about every combination of construction scenarios to develop and deliver from complex bridges, hard rock drill and blast tunnels and millions of cubic metres of earth to move. “This is combined with a steep, subtropical greenfield construction and a busy existing motorway to tie into at both ends. I’m excited to see this shift in the construction industry and openly focusing on collaboration to work together to achieve positive outcomes.”

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  1. Pat Durman 1 year ago

    Why can’t this happen to the Appin Campbelltown Road hiw many more people and native animals have to die.

    This road should be the normal

    • Allan 1 year ago

      Sydney to Brisbane road will still have a single lane over the Hunter River

  2. Miles Nuske 1 year ago

    What trucks are not aloud in this tunnel ?

  3. Lucy Meredith 1 year ago

    Sm overlooked problem that local renters have been given notice to move out of their rental properties to accommodate the road workers.

  4. J 1 year ago

    The “innovative” design involves messing up the central interchange with changes from the approved design that makes it cheaper to build but less usefully located. A bait and switch that will frustrate local users forever.

  5. Ernst 1 year ago

    Any infrastructure for EVs ?

  6. Ernst 1 year ago

    No infrastructure for EVs?

  7. Harvey Smith 1 year ago

    It is sad that progress is coming at such a high cost. The rental market is collapsing more and more every day. Elderly people who have lived in their rental properties for 20 years or more have been given termination notices so landlords can get a much higher rent Young people staring out are priced out of the market and the everyday middle aged middle income families are using one full pay check on rent just to have a roof over their heads. A solution to the housing shortages needs to b e considered. What happened to the days when temporary accommosation camps were put in place for workers without changing the housing situation in towns like this.
    I’m happy to see the bypass go through but not to the detrement of locals.

  8. Allan 1 year ago

    Sydney to Brisbane road will still have a single lane over the Hunter River

  9. AllanM 1 year ago

    Sydney to Brisbane road will still have a single lane over the Hunter River

  10. Paul 1 year ago

    Yes. There will be roads

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